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Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies—5 Ways

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies—5 Ways
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Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies 5 Ways: lemon glazed, toffee caramel, berry chocolate chip, mocha and plain

Truth: I’ve made so many Christmas cookies on this blog before that sometimes I wonder if I’m going to run out of ideas completely. But if I’ve learned anything at all in writing this blog since 2009 (!), it’s that you have to be willing to put it all out there. You know? Leave it all on the table. Creativity begets creativity! Give ’em your best, every day. So it is in that spirit that I offer you 5-recipes-in-one. Let’s ignore the fact that I took plenty of inspiration from Betty Crocker for today’s post, and that I already knew you were into the whole thing because you told me so on my Must Make Gluten Free Pinterest board. Betty was using her boxed shortbread cookie mix, but no thanks, Betty. We don’t need your mix. We’ve got our own make-your-own mix. And we slice them like icebox cookies, rather than rolling them out. We don’t need to roll them out, no sir.

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies 5 Ways: lemon glazed, toffee caramel, berry chocolate chip, mocha and plain

For each of these 5 recipes, we start off the same—with a gluten free shortbread cookies mix. And since shortbread cookies are pretty much the absolute simplest cookies around, that mix is dead simple: some flours, sugar, and salt. That’s it. Then, for the Berry Chocolate Chip cookies, just add dried berries and mini chocolate chips (a chocolate drizzle doesn’t hurt, but isn’t strictly necessary). Mocha cookies just call for some cocoa powder and instant espresso powder. Glazed lemon cookies are made fresh and lemony with lemonade drink mix (I used True Lemon brand lemonade drink mix, but you could definitely just use straight-up True Lemon granulated lemon crystals, or any other lemonade drink mix you like) and lemon zest, then topped with a simple lemon glaze. Toffee caramel cookies are by far the fanciest, since they are made with toffee bits, then dipped in chocolate and drizzled with caramel. I did use store-bought caramels, but you could easily use our favorite caramel sauce. Mmmm….

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies 5 Ways: plain, mocha, berry chocolate chip, toffee caramel and lemon glazed

These recipes are all so simple, and the “plain” recipe below is really the only one you need. Use the proportions here to make them your own—for each recipe of shortbread cookie dry mix, you’ll need 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Beyond that, add 1/3 cup of mix-ins (like chopped dried fruit, mini chocolate chips, toffee bits or any other tiny mix-ins). Drizzle with chocolate, top with cinnamon sugar, sugar-in-the-raw, or mocha sugar. You get the idea!

One more tip: If you plan to make all 5 kinds of shortbread cookies, multiply all of the shortbread cookie mix ingredients by 5, and whisk to combine well. Then, measure out 287 grams of the well-combined dry mix for each recipe and proceed with the instructions as written for each. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can make a whole bunch of cookie varieties. Talk about impressive!

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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 15 cookies per recipe

Ingredients

Shortbread Cookie Dry Mix
1 1/4 cups (175 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch (or try arrowroot)

3/8 cup (75 g) granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Plain Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread Cookie Dry Mix (see above)

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, softened

Mocha Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread Cookie Mix (see above)

3 tablespoons (15 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons (36 g) granulated sugar

Berry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Shortbread Cookie Dry Mix (see above)

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons (30 g) chopped dried berries (I used cranberries, but dried cherries would also be great)

2 tablespoons (28 g) miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted (for drizzling)

Toffee Caramel Cookies
Shortbread Cookie Dry Mix (see above)

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup (80 g) toffee bits (I used Hershey’s Heath English Toffee Bits—I called the company and they confirmed that they are gluten free)

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted (for dipping)

8 Kraft caramels, unwrapped, melted with 2 teaspoons milk (for drizzling)

Coarse salt, for sprinkling

Glazed Lemon Cookies
Shortbread Cookie Dry Mix (see above)

1 teaspoon (3 g) lemonade flavor dry drink mix (I used True Lemon brand original lemonade drink mix)

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup (58 g) confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice, plus more by the 1/8 teaspoonful if necessary

Directions

  • First, make the shortbread cookie mix. Place all of the cookie mix ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk to combine well. Set the dry mix aside.

    Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • To make the Plain Shortbread Cookies, place 1 recipe of the shortbread cookie dry mix (287 g) in a large bowl. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter. Mix until all of the dry ingredients are moistened with the butter, and then knead the dough with clean hands until it comes together. The dough should be thick and smooth. Place the dough on a large piece of unbleached parchment paper and roll into a tight cylinder about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Square off the sides of the cylinder as you wrap it in the parchment paper, and twist the edges of the parchment to close. Place in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes or until firm. Remove from the refrigerator, and slice by cross-section into 15 squares, each about 3/8-inch thick. Place the squares about 1-inch apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet.

    Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or until set in the center and very pale brown underneath. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • To make the Mocha Shortbread Cookies, place 1 recipe of the shortbread cookie dry mix (287 g), 2 tablespoons (10 g) of the cocoa powder and 2 teaspoons of the espresso powder in a large bowl, and whisk to combine. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter. Mix until all of the dry ingredients are moistened with the butter, and then knead the dough with clean hands until it comes together. The dough should be thick and smooth. Place the dough on a large piece of unbleached parchment paper and roll into a tight cylinder about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Square off the sides of the cylinder as you wrap it in the parchment paper, and twist the edges of the parchment to close. Place in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes or until firm. Remove from the refrigerator, and slice by cross-section into 15 squares, each about 3/8-inch thick. Place the remaining 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, remaining 1 teaspoon espresso powder and the granulated sugar in a small bowl, and mix to combine. Place the squares in the bowl of cocoa-mocha sugar, one at a time, pressing the dough gently in the mixture on all sides to ensure that the sugar mixture adheres to the dough. Place the squares about 1-inch apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet.

    Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or until set in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • To make the Berry Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies, place 1 recipe of the shortbread cookie dry mix (287 g) in a large bowl. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter. Mix until all of the dry ingredients are moistened with the butter. Add the dried chopped berries and chocolate chips, and mix until the pieces are evenly distributed throughout the dough. Knead the dough with clean hands until it comes together. It should be thick and smooth. Place the dough on a large piece of unbleached parchment paper and roll into a tight cylinder about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Square off the sides of the cylinder as you wrap it in the parchment paper, and twist the edges of the parchment to close. Place in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes or until firm. Remove from the refrigerator, and slice by cross-section into 15 squares, each about 3/8-inch thick. Place the squares about 1-inch apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet.

    Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or until set in the center and very pale brown underneath. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle the melted chocolate on the tops of the cooled cookies, and allow the cookies to sit until the chocolate is set.

  • To make the Toffee Caramel Shortbread Cookies, place 1 recipe of the shortbread cookie dry mix (287 g) in a large bowl. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter. Mix until all of the dry ingredients are moistened with the butter. Add the toffee bits, and mix until the pieces are evenly distributed throughout the dough. Knead the dough with clean hands until it comes together. It should be thick and smooth. Place the dough on a large piece of unbleached parchment paper and roll into a tight cylinder about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Square off the sides of the cylinder as you wrap it in the parchment paper, and twist the edges of the parchment to close. Place in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes or until firm. Remove from the refrigerator, and slice by cross-section into 15 squares, each about 3/8-inch thick. Place the squares about 1-inch apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet.

    Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or until set in the center and very pale brown underneath. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Dip half of each cookie in the melted chocolate, and allow the cookies to sit until the chocolate is set. Place the caramels and milk in a small bowl, and place in the microwave for 30 seconds on 50% power. Repeat, stirring in between, until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth. Drizzle the melted caramel on top of the chocolate, and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Allow to sit until the caramel is set.

  • To make the Glazed Lemon Shortbread Cookies, place 1 recipe of the shortbread cookie dry mix (287 g), the lemonade drink mix and lemon peel in a large bowl, and whisk to combine (working out any clumps of grated lemon peel). Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter. Mix until all of the dry ingredients are moistened with the butter, then knead the dough with clean hands until it comes together. It should be thick and smooth. Place the dough on a large piece of unbleached parchment paper and roll into a tight cylinder about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Square off the sides of the cylinder as you wrap it in the parchment paper, and twist the edges of the parchment to close. Place in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes or until firm. Remove from the refrigerator, and slice by cross-section into 15 squares, each about 3/8-inch thick. Place the squares about 1-inch apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet.

    Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or until set in the center and very pale brown underneath. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. To make the glaze, place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and mix well, until a thick paste forms. Add more lemon juice by the 1/4-teaspoon, mixing to combine well, until the glaze falls off the spoon slowly, in a thick but pourable glaze. Add lemon juice very slowly, as it is much easier to thin, than to thicken, the glaze. If you do thin the glaze too much, add more confectioners’ sugar a teaspoon at a time to thicken it. Dip the tops of the cooled cookies in the glaze and place on a flat surface to sit until the glaze is set.

  • Adapted from Betty Crocker’s 5 Way Shortbread Cookies as selected by you from my Must Make Gluten Free Pinterest Board

Love,
Me

 

P.S. Did you preorder your copy of Gluten Free Classic Snacks yet?! Go check out the sneak peek of what’s inside, and order your copy today! Your support means so much to me.

  • Jennifer S.

    This is brilliant! thank you so much – I love shortbread and all of your mix ins. I’m in heaven!

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      So glad, Jennifer. :)

  • Lucy

    Crazy Nicole, I was looking for these yesterday, again you read my mind….uncanny :)

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      Wish I had them for you yesterday, then, Lucy!! ;)

  • Michelle

    These are so pretty! I was going to make Mexican wedding cookies today, but think I will make these instead. I picked the last of the limes from my little tree, (it’s finally almost cold here, thank goodness, and we are supposed to get rain!) so I think I will do lime instead of lemon. Have you seen the True Grapefruit? I used some with some peel in sugar cookies last year, and really liked the flavor. Thanks for these!

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      I have seen True Grapefruit, Michelle! I haven’t tried it yet, though, but I bet it’s great. Fresh limes from your tree will make amazing lime shortbread cookies. I’m so jealous!

      • Michelle

        Many people have citrus trees here because they are evergreen, don’t take up much space (mine are dwarf) and are easy to grow, but I would gladly trade a bunch of citrus to have actual weather like you so. It is so dry and brown here, especially the past few years.

        • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

          I know I know, California weather is in trouble. It’s hard not to be jealous of even your dwarf tree, though, Michelle!

  • Mare Masterson

    Oh wow! I may have to change what I am doing for the office cookie exchange this year! My husband’s favorite is shortbread. He will want all of them!

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      That’s great, Mare! I love how you can switch up the basic dough so slightly, and have it seem like a brand new cookie. Perfect for a cookie exchange (and hungry husbands). :)

  • anna

    Your checkerboard cookies are my favorite. It’s impossible to go wrong with a shortbread style cookie! I’ve even taken that recipe and rolled them out to make cookie cutter shapes. This recipe looks a bit different for the basic dough. Do you know if it’s drastically different in texture from the checkerboard recipe?

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      These are a bit simpler, anna, as shortbread cookies are simply flour, butter and sugar. The checkerboard cookies are more like butter cookies, with an egg, some leavener, etc.

  • tara

    thank you for providing the brands you used for things like the toffee. makes it so much easier !

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      You bet, tara!

  • Julie

    Will these freeze well before slicing and baking? I am traveling for Christmas and would love to bake these fresh at my destination.

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      They would do great, Julie. If they stay frozen solid, though, you may have to let the pre-sliced dough warm up a bit before you can slice all the way through, though.

  • kittywitty

    Yea!! More cookie recipes! I love making cookies most of all around Christmas and was looking for some new types to make. I agree with Lucy–I swear you can read my mind. I wanted to make something with toffee, but didn’t have a recipe and here you go with one! I will definitely be making those and the glazed lemon. Thank you!

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      Perfect, kitty!

  • bward4071

    Can you recommend a butter substitute for these cookies for my DF family?

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      I haven’t tested these with any substitutions, but I would generally recommend using nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening in place of butter. Spectrum brand even makes a butter-flavored shortening. Let us know how it turns out!

  • HillaryH

    These are the perfect vehicle for the Lorann Bakery Emulsions I just got :)

  • Ulrike Walter-Lipow

    I am in the process of making these, but they seem to “melt” in the oven, and I feel they aren’t done after 8-9 minutes – any idea where the problem is? I weighed the ingredients, and the dough seemed perfect pre-baking.

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      Ulrike, this is an exceedingly simple recipe, with essentially only 3 basic ingredients. If you are measuring everything by weight, the only possible explanation I can think of is the flour blend you are using. You can’t use just any flour blend, especially with a recipe this simple. If you are not chilling the dough, that could also have an effect. And, as always, if you are making any substitutions (including flour), I’d always look there first.

      • Ulrike Walter-Lipow

        Thanks – I chilled the dough (can one overchill it?), but I just went
        back to look at the Better Batter ingredients, and it has pectin, which
        my flour doesn’t have, so I’ll try adding some of that next time. But it
        seems that I can also bake them at a lower temperature for longer, so
        I’ll try that with the last batch of dough that is still in the fridge.

    • Erin Lowery Baerwaldt

      Ulrike, do you have a thermometer inside your oven? I have been using Nicole’s recipes for quite a while now and I (like you) am so careful to weigh everything exactly and use exactly the same flours she does. I made three batches of these cookies today. The first batch “melted” too, they were the toffee ones and they looked more like a lace cookie! And i had even refrigerated them an hour before baking. I ended up turning my oven temp down to 350 and it seemed to help. They didn’t stay cute squares but they at least retained some shape. I added a minute to the bake time also. Regardless of, they all still tasted delicious! :)

      • Ulrike Walter-Lipow

        After the first batch, I put one in and found that the temp was lower that it should be, but turning it up seemed to make things worse. So next time, I’ll try the long and low temp approach – the dough is so quick to make, that doesn’t matter. And yes, the kids will gobble these up, regardless of their shape :-)

  • Amy

    I had the same “melting” problem that Ulrike did (with the toffee ones). I can’t figure out what went wrong…I used Better Better, I chilled everything thoroughly, my oven thermometer said I was at the correct temp…but they melted into thin, little circles. Tasty, but I am perplexed.

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      Amy, did you measure your flour by weight, and add the cornstarch by weight, as well? Cookies that are as simple as these that melt into one another, if everything is cold before going into the oven and the oven temp is correct, don’t have enough flour.

  • Sally Yates

    Hi, in New Zealand we cant get that brand flour mix. Can you advise exactly what is in the mix and the amounts and I may be able to make it myself. Thanks.

    • Sally Yates

      ignore this post, I found your link to the flour mix!!!!

  • Elena

    would these be good with shortening?My mom is dairy-free

  • Elena

    or earth balance?

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      I have already answered that below. Please scroll down, Elena!

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